We all love to be part of something. After all, we’re social creatures, and most of us are at our best when we’re sharing what we love with others, but with today’s often busy and chaotic lifestyle, it’s not always easy and that’s where online niche communities can make all the difference in people’s lives.
In this post, we’ll look at creating a niche community and the benefits of doing so.
What is a niche community?
Niche communities are small groups of people with similar interests who come together online to build relationships and a shared sense of belonging. They are often started by community builders who are passionate about a particular topic and want to create a safe space for others to chat and connect.
Niche communities are positively brimming with opportunity. That’s because they’re the sort of groups people join and immediately think ‘wow, these are exactly the sort of people I want to get to know’. Far removed from being everything to everyone like a lot of social networks, niche communities have smaller and more engaged audiences driven by a common goal.
This might be a love of a particular brand or product. Or, members might be looking for a safe space where they can discuss sensitive topics and overcome the same challenges. Others might come together to improve their personal wellbeing or boost their professional lives.
While niche communities can be found on any social media platform, niche Facebook groups are some of the most popular and active. These groups range in size from a few hundred to a few million members, but may lack the tight-knit community feel that their members are looking for.
After all, it’s no secret that Facebook groups have their drawbacks. While Facebook and other social networks have long been promoted as an opportunity for brands to leverage social media features to create communities online, they fall short in several areas. For example, it can be hard for community members to build relationships around a similar interest while the social platform is constantly distracting them with links to other groups, or unrelated messages and notifications popping up every ten seconds. Niche communities tend to have a better atmosphere when they are wholly dedicated to that niche, especially since this forms the common interest of all involved.
Disciple powers dozens of niche communities across a diverse range of industries, and we want to help you build your community too.
What are the benefits of having a niche community?
When people think of online communities, they usually think of platforms like Facebook and Twitter. But these communities aren’t about anything other than numbers. Niche communities, however, home in on a common goal or purpose, which also means they cater to a specific target market. In other words, niche communities do what the big ones can’t: they’re less noisy and overcrowded, less competitive, and they stay focussed on one topic.
People join niche communities because they’re passionate about something, and they want to connect with others who share those passions. At the same time, they don’t want to have to compete for attention in an overcrowded space. Just like our ancestors formed tribes, where people came together for a sense of belonging and commonality, today’s niche communities and membership clubs work in much the same way. They help build loyalty and encourage good teamwork as well. For example, members of a yoga community might share tips and insights and motivate others to improve their personal wellbeing.
Find out what your people want
You know what a lot of people think about when it comes to social media? Big and impressive-sounding numbers like skyrocketing visitor counts and thousands of followers and people ‘liking’ their posts. But what can you expect to achieve if you’re trying to be everything to everyone? Unless your target audience happens to be…well… everyone, probably not much. But there are also niche communities in almost every industry. You just have to find out what makes your brand or mission unique. From there, you can find your target market.
- Reach out to influencers: The internet sure is a crowded space! It often seems like everything has been said and done a thousand times over. But that doesn’t mean there’s no space to offer something fresh and new.
- Start by reaching out to influencers in your niche. And by that, we mean so-called micro influencers; those with smaller but more engaged audiences. Follow their communities to see what sort of people they’re targeting and how they’re engaging them.
- Find the latest trends: Niche communities, like others, often revolve around topical discussion. So, it’s good to make sure you’re up to date on what’s going on in your industry.
- Google Trends is one of many great places to start. If there’s something big happening in your niche, you should be among the first to know about it. If nothing else, it’s a great talking point for starting a conversation.
- Determine how profitable it is: A niche brand gives you access to loyal customers, but some niches are more profitable than others. Fortunately, the internet has made it possible for even the most obscure niches to thrive.
- Find out what’s selling in your niche, and don’t be afraid to ask your target audience what they’d be interested in buying as well. Give your ideas a test run, and you never know – you may just find something you’d never even thought of.
You already have an initial idea, so your next step is to home in on your niche and learn more about your target audience. That will help you identify opportunities and find what salespeople call the ultimate value proposition.
Build an exclusive community space
More than ever, people crave exclusivity away from all the digital noise. They want a private, secure, and comfortable space to discuss their needs and passions without irrelevant content, spamming, and trolling getting in the way. A niche community is exactly that – a group of people who all share a common interest. With a clear purpose and an exclusive experience, you’ll be able to build a close-knit community.
- Avoid the main platforms: There are plenty of reasons to be wary of the main social networks – privacy and security concerns being among the most common. On top of that, they lack any real focus, which is why the demand for niche community alternatives has risen.
- These days, you can find niche communities catering to everyone from beer lovers to ghost hunters. If you want your own niche community, you’ll need to build your own. Fortunately though, there are pre-built platforms like Disciple to help you get started in no time!
- Focus on smaller goals: It’s great to dream big, but you shouldn’t be thinking about headcounts alone. A niche community isn’t about the number of members you have, but about the passions those members have.
- Rather than trying to grow your community as quickly as possible, take the time to talk to your members. Post some interesting content. Ask people what they like (and don’t like) about your brand. Thank people for participating. Those are the little things that lead to longer-term success.
- Make your community yours: When building a niche community, there are two main priorities – making it a welcoming space for your members and keeping your business front and centre to drive engagement.
- Set your community apart by applying your own branding. Not only will this put your brand on the stage – it will also help keep things on topic, as well as add that essential personal touch that’s not so easy to find on the main social networks.
- Publish great content: Once you’ve launched and branded your community, you will need to get the conversation started. You’ll also need to grow your community, so your members will have plenty of user-generated content to engage with.
Publishing and sharing the right content will help reinforce your community’s identity, as well as establish yourself as an authority in the area. Also, consider contributing to others in your niche to build up a reputation and drive others to your own community.
It’s much easier to build an exclusive community space if you’re the one in the driver’s seat. Moreover, with a platform like Disciple, you also have ownership over the data, so you don’t have to worry about it being sold on to third-party advertisers.
How to create a niche community
You can try to start your community on one of the main social networks. It’s free and easy, and doesn’t require any coding. But it’s hard to create a true niche community using a social network that’s designed to be everything to everyone.
The best way to build a niche community is to create your own by choosing the right platform for your needs. With the right community app, you can also give your members a an instantly familiar user experience that doesn’t require any getting used to.
With Disciple, you start with a blank slate where everything’s ready to go straight out of the box. All you need to do is make the community your own by applying your branding and choosing your preferred settings and activity feeds.
Niche communities are the future of social media. They’re the next big growth channel in an age when people are becoming distrustful of the social networking giants. Whether you’re a personal trainer or you run a mental health charity or something else entirely, a niche community is a product in its own right that helps make life better for your target audience. And what’s good for them is also good for building your brand and your reputation.
Here’s a recap of our key points:
- Find out what your target audience is looking for
- Build an exclusive community space driven by a common purpose
- Engage your community members with great content